WomensLaw is not just for women. We serve and support all survivors, no matter their sex or gender.

Important: Even if courts are closed, you can still file for a protection order and other emergency relief. See our FAQ on Courts and COVID-19.

Legal Information: Oklahoma

Oklahoma State Gun Laws

State Gun Laws

This section contains information about who is prohibited from having a gun under Oklahoma state gun laws. However, in addition to these state-specific laws, there are also federal gun laws that could apply. To fully understand all of the legal protections available, it is important that you also read the Federal Gun Laws pages.

WomensLaw.org strongly recommends that you get in touch with a domestic violence advocate in your community for more information on gun laws in your area. Go to the Oklahoma Places that Help page to find domestic violence organizations and legal help in your area.

Basic Info and Definitions

What is the difference between federal and state gun laws?

In these gun laws pages, we refer to both “federal gun laws” and “state gun laws.” The major difference between the two has to do with who makes the law, who prosecutes someone who violates the law, and what the penalty is for breaking the law.

One reason why it is important for you to know that there are these two sets of gun laws is so that you can understand all of the possible ways that the abuser might be breaking the law, and you can better protect yourself. Throughout this section, we will be referring mostly to state laws. Be sure to also read our Federal Gun Laws pages to see if any federal laws apply to your situation as well. You will need to read both state and federal laws to see which ones, if any, the abuser might be violating.

If you are calling the police because you believe the abuser has violated a gun law, you do not necessarily need to be able to tell the police which law was violated (state versus federal) but local police cannot arrest someone for violating federal law, only for violating state/local laws. Only federal law enforcement, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (“ATF”), can arrest someone for violating federal laws. If the local police believe that a state law is being violated, they could arrest the abuser and hand the case over to the state prosecutor. If the local police believe a federal law is being violated, hopefully, the police department will notify the ATF or perhaps the U.S. Attorney’s office in your state (which is the federal prosecutor). For information on how you can contact ATF directly to report the violation of federal gun laws, go to Who do I notify if I think the abuser should not have a gun? If the abuser is breaking both state and federal laws, s/he might be prosecuted in both state and federal court.

What is the definition of a felony?

Throughout these gun law pages, we will refer to gun laws that make it illegal for someone convicted of a felony to have a gun. A felony is a more serious crime than a misdemeanor. Under Oklahoma law, a felony is any crime that is punishable by death or by imprisonment for one year or more.1

However, you cannot always tell if someone was convicted of a felony only by looking at the amount of time s/he actually served in prison since sentences are often reduced or pled down. If you are unsure if the abuser was convicted of a felony, you might want to talk to the prosecutor who handled the criminal case against the abuser to find out or go to the courthouse and search the conviction records.

1 21 O.S. § 5

I am a victim of domestic violence and the abuser has a gun. Is that legal?

Oklahoma state laws says that a person cannot have or buy a gun if s/he:

  • is an undocumented immigrant;
  • has been convicted of a felony in Oklahoma or another state, unless that felony was nonviolent and the felony has been pardoned;
  • is currently on probation for a felony committed in Oklahoma or another state;
  • was found to be a “delinquent child” or “youthful offender” within the past ten years for a charge that would have been a felony if the person had been an adult;1
  • is under age 18. However, a person under 18 can be allowed to use a gun by his/her parent or legal guardian for hunting, target shooting, training, and safety courses;2 and
  • is subject to a protective order that includes a gun restriction.3 Note: Oklahoma does not automatically make it illegal for an abuser to have a gun if there is a protective order issued against him/her. A judge does have the option of including a firearm restriction in a protective order, however. There may be things you can do to make a gun restriction more likely. If there is a firearm restriction included in a protective order, then the respondent in that order cannot have a gun for the period of time that the order is in effect.

Additionally, to carry a handgun in Oklahoma, both open and concealed carry, a person must have a handgun license. Oklahoma law says that a person can only get a handgun license if s/he:

  • has not been arrested for, is not currently charged with, is not subject to a deferred sentence or prosecution for, and has not been convicted of any of the following misdemeanor crimes:​
    • ​any assault and battery that caused serious physical injury to the victim;
    • more than one assault and battery, even without causing serious physical injury to the victim;
    • any aggravated assault and battery;
    • any stalking crime;
    • any violation of a victim protection order from any state;
    • any conviction relating to illegal drug use or possession; or
    • an act of domestic abuse in Oklahoma or any other state;
  • does not have a misdemeanor criminal record showing habitual (frequent) criminal activity;
  • does not have a final victim protection order against him/her (from any state);
  • has not been arrested for a felony or does not have a pending felony charge against him/her in Oklahoma (s/he cannot have a gun until the case’s outcome is determined);
  • has not been convicted of a felony (in any state) and does not have a felony warrant out for him/her;
  • has not been to impatient treatment for substance abuse;
  • has not:
    • been declared mentally incompetent;
    • been involuntarily committed for mental illness;
    • undergone treatment for a mental illness, which required medication or supervision; and
    • been currently undergoing treatment for a mental illness, condition, or disorder;
  • has not attempted suicide within the past ten years;
  • has not been convicted two or more times for drunk driving or being drunk in public;
  • is not an “adjudicated delinquent” or a convicted felon; and
  • does not have a convicted felon or an “adjudicated delinquent” living in his/her home.4

If any of these situations apply to the abuser, it may be illegal for him/her to have a gun. Also, federal laws, which apply to all states, may restrict an abuser’s right to have a gun. Go to Federal Gun Laws to get more information.

Note: There are certain time periods that apply to each of the criteria above - for example, a person may only be prohibited from getting a handgun license for a period of three years after one of the arrests or convictions mentioned above. To read all of the timeframes that apply to each, please go to our Selected Oklahoma Statutes page and read sections 1290.10 and 1290.11 of Title 21.

1 21 O.S. § 1283
2 21 O.S. § 1273
3 See Emergency Order of Protection and Final Order of Protection on the Oklahoma Courts website
4 21 O.S. §§ 1290.10; 1290.11

Guns and Protective Orders

I have a temporary protective order against the abuser. Can s/he have a gun?

As part of a protective order case, a judge can specifically order that the abuser not buy or have a firearm in his/her possession. So, if this is ordered in your temporary protective order, the abuser cannot legally have a gun.1

However, if there is no specific mention of a firearm restriction in the temporary protective order, then it may still be legal for the abuser to have a gun under Oklahoma state law.

1 22 O.S. § 60.3(A)

I have a protective order against the abuser. Can s/he keep a gun or buy a gun?

Oklahoma state law does not automatically make it illegal for a person to have a gun if there is a protective order issued against him/her. A judge does have the option of including a firearm restriction in a protective order however. If there is a firearm restriction included in a protective order, then the respondent in that order cannot have a gun during the period of time that the order is in effect.1

In addition, in Oklahoma, a person subject to a protective order cannot get a handgun license, which is needed to carry a handgun, for three years from the date the order is issued even if the order expires before three years. However, if the order is canceled or dismissed by a court within those three years, then s/he does not have to wait three years. S/he can qualify for a handgun license to 60 days from the date the order is canceled or dismissed.2

Also, federal laws, which apply to all states, restrict a person’s right to have a gun under certain circumstances. Go to Federal Gun Laws to get more information.

1 22 O.S. § 60.2 and see Emergency Order of Protection and Final Order of Protection on the Oklahoma Courts website
2 21 O.S. § 1290.11(A)(8)

Is there anything I can do to make it more likely that the abuser's gun is taken away when I get a protective order?

Depending on the judge in your case, there may be some things you can do to increase the chances that the judge will require that an abuser’s gun is taken away. Keep in mind these tips may or may not result in the outcome that you are hoping for. Every judge is different. However, here are a few suggestions that may help:

  • If the abuser has a gun, tell the judge how many guns s/he has, and if s/he has ever shown you the guns or displayed them as a way to intimidate you and maintain control over you.
  • Ask the judge to specifically write in your protective order that the abuser cannot own, buy or have a gun while the order is in effect. The form that you will have to fill out to petition for a protective order will have a place where you can request additional protections. You can ask that the abuser’s gun(s) be taken away in that section.
  • It also may be helpful if the judge explains what will happen to the abuser’s guns, who will take them, and where they will be held once you leave the courthouse. If the judge agrees to add language that the abuser cannot keep his/her guns while the protection order is in effect, you may also want to ask that the judge:
    • require the abuser to give his/her guns to the police, or require the police to go to the abuser’s house and get them;
    • make it clear to both you and the abuser how long the guns will be kept away from the abuser; and
    • order that the police notify you when the guns are returned to the abuser.
  • If the gun restriction is granted, check to make sure that it is written on your order before leaving the courthouse.

Guns and Criminal Convictions

If the abuser has been convicted of a crime, can s/he keep or buy a gun?

Oklahoma state laws says that a person cannot have or buy a gun if s/he:

  • has been convicted of a felony in Oklahoma or another state, unless that felony was nonviolent and the felony has been pardoned;
  • is currently on probation for a felony committed in Oklahoma or another state; or
  • was found to be a “delinquent child” or “youthful offender” for a charge that would have been a felony if the person had been an adult, unless ten years have passed since the person was found to be a delinquent child or youthful offender;1

Also, to carry a handgun in Oklahoma, both open and concealed carry, a person must have a handgun license. Oklahoma law says that a person can only get a handgun license if s/he, among other things:

  • has not been arrested for, is not currently charged with, is not subject to a deferred sentence or prosecution for, and has not been convicted of any of the following misdemeanor crimes:
    • any assault and battery that caused serious physical injury to the victim;
    • more than one assault and battery, even without causing serious physical injury to the victim;
    • any aggravated assault and battery;
    • any stalking crime;
    • any violation of a victim protection order from any state;
    • any conviction relating to illegal drug use or possession; or
    • an act of domestic abuse in Oklahoma or any other state;
  • does not have a misdemeanor criminal record showing habitual (frequent) criminal activity;
  • has not been arrested for a felony or does not have a pending felony charge against him/her in Oklahoma (s/he cannot have a gun until the case’s outcome is determined);
  • has not been convicted of a felony (in any state) and does not have a felony warrant out for him/her;
  • has not been convicted of two or more times for drunk driving or being drunk in public;
  • is not an “adjudicated delinquent” or a convicted felon; and
  • does not have a convicted felon or an “adjudicated delinquent” living in his/her home.2

If any of these situations apply to the abuser, it may not be possible for him/her to get a handgun license. Also, federal laws, which apply to all states, may restrict an abuser’s right to have a gun. Go to Federal Gun Laws to get more information.

Note: There are certain time periods that apply to each of the criteria above - for example, a person may only be prohibited from getting a handgun license for a period of three years after one of the arrests or convictions mentioned above. To read all of the timeframes that apply to each, please go to our Oklahoma Statutes page and read sections 1290.10 and 1290.11 of Title 21.

1 21 O.S. § 1283
2 21 O.S. §§ 1290.10; 1290.11

How can I find out if the abuser has been convicted of a crime?

Criminal records are open to the public, but they are not always easy to access. If you know the exact courthouse where the abuser may have been convicted, you can go to the courthouse and ask the clerk of court for access to those records.

Domestic violence misdemeanor and felony records are also kept in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). However, no one other than law enforcement officials and licensed firearm sellers are allowed to search the NICS. Your local police department may be willing to search NICS for you if you ask, but they are not required to do so.

To read more about the NICS, please see What will happen if the abuser tries to purchase a gun?

The Abuser Isn't Supposed to Have a Gun...Now What?

If the abuser's gun is taken away, what will happen to it?

Oklahoma state law says that if law enforcement arrests someone for domestic violence, the officer is supposed to take any weapon from the abuser that the officer believes was used to commit domestic violence.1

After the weapon has been taken, it will be held by the District Attorney’s office until a final decision has been made about what will happen to it. The District Attorney’s office is supposed to give notice (a “notice of seizure and forfeiture”) to the owner within ten days. The owner has a chance to answer the notice, in writing, and request to have the gun returned. If such an answer is filed, a hearing will be held within ten to sixty days. A judge will decide if the gun should be returned to the owner. If the gun is not returned, either after a hearing or after the owner fails to answer the notice of seizure and forfeiture, then it will be sold or destroyed.2

1 22 O.S. § 60.8(A)
2 22 O.S. §§ 60.8(B), (C); 991a-19

Who do I notify if I think the abuser should not have a gun?

If you think the abuser is violating state firearm laws, you can call your local police or sheriff department or the State Police. If you think the abuser is violating federal firearm laws, you can call the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF).

You can find contact information for sheriff departments in your area on our Oklahoma Sheriff Departments page.

You can find ATF field offices in Oklahoma on the ATF website. For reporting illegal firearm activity, a person can also call 1-800-ATF-GUNS (1-800-283-4867). Many ATF offices have victim advocates on staff (called “victim/witness coordinators”) and so perhaps you may ask to speak one of these advocates if you are having a hard time connecting with (or receiving a call back from) an ATF officer.

A local domestic violence organization in your area may also be able to answer your questions and assist you in talking to the necessary law enforcement officials. You will find contact information for organizations in your area on our Oklahoma Advocates and Shelters page.

Note: Generally, the abuser does not have to have knowledge of the law in order to be arrested for breaking the law. If the abuser has or buys a gun in violation of the law, the abuser can be arrested, whether or not s/he knows that s/he was in violation of the law.1

1United States v. Lippman, 369 F. 3d 1039 (8th Cir. 2004); United States v. Henson, 55 F. Supp. 2d 528 (S.D. W.V. 1999)

What is the penalty for violating state firearm laws?

Anyone who has been convicted of a felony and has or buys a gun in violation of Oklahoma state law can charged with a felony and can be punished by a prison sentence of up to ten years.1

If the judge specifically ordered that the abuser cannot have a gun as part of your protective order, and the abuser has a gun anyway, s/he could be arrested for violating the provisions of a protective order. The penalty for this sort of crime is a misdemeanor that is punishable by a fine of up to $1,000, up to one year of jail time, or both.2 The penalties for violating a protective order increase if the abuser has violated a protective order in the past or causes physical injuries to the victim when violating a protective order.3

1 21 O.S. § 1284
2 22 O.S. § 60.6(A)(1)
3 22 O.S. § 60.6(A)(2), (B)

What will happen if the abuser tries to purchase a gun?

Before purchasing a gun from a licensed firearm dealer, all buyers must undergo a criminal background check that is processed through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). The National Instant Criminal Background Check System is used by federal firearms licensees (FFLs), such as firearms dealers or pawnbrokers, to instantly determine whether someone is eligible to receive (own, possess, transport) firearms or explosives.1 If the abuser has a qualifying protection order against him/her, or has been convicted of a felony or domestic violence misdemeanor in any state, those records should be in the NICS, which should prevent the abuser from legally buying a gun. Not all states have automated record keeping systems, making it more difficult to process the criminal background check, and some criminals and abusers do slip through the system. Also, it is important to know that background checks are not required for private and online gun sales and so in those situations, the seller is not looking in the NICS.

If the abuser is able to purchase a gun and you believe that s/he should not be able to have one under the law, you can alert the police, and ask that his/her gun be taken away and perhaps the police will investigate. Generally, it is not a good idea to assume that because the abuser was able to buy a gun, it is legal for him/her to have one.

1National Criminal Justice Reference Service website

More Information and Where to Get Help

I do not have a restraining order against the abuser, and s/he has not been convicted of a crime. Can s/he have a gun?

Even if the abuser has not been convicted of a crime and you do not have a protective order against him/her, there are other reasons that s/he may not be able to legally possess a firearm under Oklahoma law. In Oklahoma, a person who is under age 18 cannot have a gun unless his/her parent or legal guardian allows him/her to use one for hunting, target shooting, training, or safety courses.

In addition, a person cannot get a handgun license for a certain period of time if any of the following are true:

  • s/he has been to impatient treatment for substance abuse;
  • s/he has:
    • been currently undergoing treatment for a mental illness, condition, or disorder;
    • undergone treatment for a mental illness, which required medication or supervision; or
    • been involuntarily committed for mental illness;
    • been declared mentally incompetent;
  • s/he has attempted suicide within the past ten years;
  • s/he is an “adjudicated delinquent;” or
  • s/he has a convicted felon (or an “adjudicated delinquent”) living in his/her home.1

The sheriff department or ATF branch office may also be able to help. You can find contact information for your local sheriff on our Oklahoma Sheriff Departments page. See Who do I notify if I think my abuser should not have a gun? to find contact information for an ATF branch office near you.

If none of these situations apply, you can still make a plan for your safety. See our Safety Tips page for more information. You can also contact your local domestic violence program for additional help. You may want to talk to them about whether leaving the area - either long term or for a little while - might help improve your safety. See our Oklahoma Advocates and Shelters page.

For additional information on gun laws in Oklahoma, you can go to the Giffords Law Center website

1 21 O.S. § 1290.11

I've read through this information and I'm still confused. What can I do?

Trying to understand both federal and state law can be confusing. There are people who can help you better understand the law and your rights under the law.

  • You can contact the National Center on Protection Orders and Full Faith & Credit to get more information about how firearm laws apply to you: 1-800-903-0111 x 2.
  • You can contact a local domestic violence organization in your area - see our Oklahoma Advocates and Shelters page.
  • You can write to our Email Hotline.